Superintendent Cat Barrie
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am the Chief Officer for the Special Constabulary and responsible for the recruitment and development of over 500 volunteer police officers. It is a fantastic role as the diversity of my teams is vast and it is a privilege to work with people who give up their free time for the community as well as helping them transfer skills from their ‘other life’ which enriches our policing tapestry. I am very proud of creating one of the largest female staff networks within policing and collaborating with other emergency services in the region to share learning and experiences. This has ensured that opportunities for women in policing continues to grow at a fast pace whilst overcoming any hurdles. I love being a mentor for men and women and helping people to unlock their potential. In my spare time, I love to travel with my husband, usually by sea and embracing new cultural experiences. I am a foody and wine lover but don’t like to cook or bake! The other loves of my life are my five wonderful grandchildren who keep me young and fit.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I enjoy the variety and pace of my role and you can never predict what will happen when you start your duty. A normal day of meetings and developing strategy and managing performance can change in the blink of an eye and you may suddenly be the commander for a large critical incident or seconded to an exciting project. The most important part of my role is always the people, whether it is my staff, the public or partners that I engage with. Finding out what motivates and inspires the community gives me the boost to do the best I can and hopefully be part of their journey and solution.
Why is diversity and inclusion so important in and outside of the workplace?
I am so proud of the diversity within my team and that we are the second largest special constabulary within England and Wales. I truly believe that every person has a unique opportunity and a responsibility to shape the world that we live in and you have a choice to be involved or be a bystander. It does not matter what your background is, your experience and values are what shapes us. Be that person who steps up and makes a difference!
How do you think Essex Police values difference?
Essex Police aspires to truly reflect the community regardless of your age, gender, skills or religion and you will be warmly welcomed into our family and your voice will be heard. We want to make sure that each community is represented in our teams and to reassure you that there is someone who really does know what it is like to be you, no matter what your background is, or your situation is. Join up today and be part of our policing family.
Tell us something interesting about your role?
An interesting aspect of my role is that we can be very innovative with how we reward and thank people for volunteering their time. That can be arranging a BBQ or holding an end of year party. One of the highlights was in September 2019 when 30 of my team took part in climbing the 3 Peaks for fun and to raise money for a charity which includes climbing the 3 highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales within 24 hours. The team did it in just over 28 hours and as we held our Essex Police flag up aloft at Mount Snowdon, I remember thinking, what other job would encourage you to do this?
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about joining Essex Police?
I joined at 31 years old and I was nervous about being a mature probationer as well as having a Scottish accent. I quickly found that my life experience and slight accent difference broke down barriers and helped to generate conversations. I was able to transfer many of the skills that I learned in previous careers which helped me engage with the community and make decisions and it felt like an effortless transition. I was also really impressed with the opportunities that I was given to develop which enabled me to climb the promotion ladder quickly. I had never been valued in such a way until joining Essex Police. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain and your biggest blocker may be you, so get out of your own way and live the life you were meant to.